Pegasus spyware: Indian Supreme Court orders investigation

The Indian Supreme Court on Wednesday (October 27) ordered the opening of an independent investigation into the government’s alleged use of Pegasus spy software against journalists, political opponents and activists.

India is among the countries where tens of thousands of issues have been targeted by this software marketed by the Israeli company NSO, according to a survey published in July by an international consortium of seventeen media including The world, coordinated by the Forbidden Stories association. The ordinance follows petitions from individuals who, according to the President of the Supreme Court of India, N. V. Ramana, “Raise Orwellian concerns”.

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The state cannot benefit from a “Pass whenever the specter of national security is raised”, he explained, specifying that the court had accepted the petitions because “There was no specific denial” from the government. The court tasked cyber and computer experts to investigate the allegations.

The government proposes its own commission

More than a thousand of the potential target numbers established by the software were Indian, including that of opposition leader Rahul Gandhi, but also those of journalists, activists, government critics and former judges. A woman who had accused the former president of India’s Supreme Court of sexual harassment is also said to be on the list.

The Pegasus software allows, once installed in a mobile phone, to spy on the user of the device, by accessing their messaging, data, or remote activation of the device. for the purpose of capturing sound or images. Critics say its use in India is part of growing attacks on dissent and civil liberties under the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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According to Washington Post, an analysis of more than twenty Indian phones on a list of potential targets showed that ten of them had actually been targeted by Pegasus, seven of them successfully. Shortly after the publication of the Pegasus inquiry, the Indian Parliament was disturbed by calls from the opposition for an investigation. The government was unwilling to deny or confirm the use of the spyware for reasons of national security. He proposed to set up his own commission of inquiry.

The World with AFP

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Pegasus spyware: Indian Supreme Court orders investigation